Distracted Driving, Road Rage and other Precautions for the Holidays

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

This past month, Nevadans celebrated Thanksgiving and flocked to many retailers for Black Friday. While many retailers stayed closed on Thanksgiving day, they opened early Friday to shoppers hoping to get the best deals and savings. However, to the many who felt they should stay home to spend time with family, or to protect themselves against COVID-19, Cyber Monday is always an option.

Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend and allows shoppers to get the sales and discounts on retailer’s online sites. This day came about after online retailers noticed an increase in online shopping after Thanksgiving as consumers try to find the perfect Holiday gift for their friends and family. Cyber Monday is perfect for those who avoid large crowds and the fear of being involved in Black Friday injuries or stampedes. In addition, this year COVID-19 is a safety concern to many.

While online shopping is quite convenient and can keep you safe from Black Friday injuries, it comes with its own set of risks.  Many of us can access our favorite store from our phone from any location, it is important not to drive and shop. It can be easy to reach for your phone and browse deals sent to you while in traffic but remember that this is still a form of distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns drivers that distracted driving can include anything from talking on the phone, texting, changing your music, taking care of a child in the backseat, etc. Shopping online takes your focus off the road and your surroundings, and you can wait until you get to your destination to shop. [1]

Reducing distracted driving applies not only to Cyber Monday, but to the entire Holiday season. The Holidays can be stressful and can involve a lot of planning, shopping, and driving around the city. However, when on the road your primary focus should be on the road. The NHSTA states that distracted driving results in more than 3,000 deaths a year; in addition, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are some of the most dangerous holidays on the road. Avoiding being on your phone, or doing anything else, allows you to react quicker to your surroundings and prevent a serious or fatal accident. [2]

Road Rage During the Holidays

In addition to distracted driving, road rage is also rampant during the holiday season. Road rage is any aggressive or angry behavior exhibited by motorists. This can include flipping others off, showing visible anger, and can go as far as physical assault. Road rage has caused more than 200 murders on United States roads in the past eight years. [3]

As mentioned earlier, stress is high during the Holiday season and can make us more impatient in heavy traffic. We all get frustrated when driving, but taking the following precautions can reduce road rage and ameliorate tense situations:

  • Avoid Reacting to Angry Motorists: It is easy to react when someone gets angry or upset at you, but if you ignore them, they usually will not continue to be aggressive.
  • If you try changing lanes or merge, and you realize that a driver is not allowing you to, allow them to pass and leave plenty of room between yourself and the driver. It is better to keep your space and respect the driver rather than feed into their anger.
  • Ignore obscene or angry gestures and avoid using them as well.
  • Use your horn responsibly— The horn should be used as a defense if a car does not see you and may hit you. It is not appropriate to honk just because you are impatient or mad at another driver.
  • Keep your distance— Aggressive drivers are unpredictable and are likely to switch lanes frequently. Staying further away gives yourself enough time to react and keep you out of harms way.
  • If you notice an aggressive driver following you, do not go home but call the police or go to the nearest police station. This can protect you from being physically attacked. [4]

Holiday Weather Conditions in Nevada

The Holidays in Nevada means snowy conditions in the north and rain in the south. While its exciting that there may be a “white Christmas”, these conditions can be extremely dangerous to drivers. Black ice is a common result of snow and low temperatures and is often invisible to the human eye. Slowing down is the best way to prevent collisions in bad, icy weather. In addition, if you are traveling long-distances in cold weather, it is best to pack emergency supplies like blankets, flashlights, shovels, and tire chains in case your vehicle was to get stuck in the snow. Before venturing into the cold weather season, it is also a good idea to make sure your windshield wipers, brakes, and heater are all in working condition and your fluids are all topped off. Lastly, always clear your exhaust pipe of snow as a blocked pipe can cause carbon monoxide to circle back into the car.

[1] https://www.nhtsa.gov/campaign/distracted-driving

[2] https://www.bactrack.com

[3] https://www.aceable.com/safe-driving/road-rage/

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